No Cursing – Our Daily Bread Devotional (ODB), 20th December 2022
A star will come out of Jacob; a sceptre will rise out of Israel
William Shakespeare was a master of the insult, a “quality” that actor Barry Kraft adeptly leverages with his Shakespeare Insult Generator. The clever book consists of obscure insults drawn from Shakespeare’s plays. For instance, you might disparage someone by saying, “Thou thrasonical, logger-headed rampallian”—which is so much more creative than saying, “You brag a lot and you’re not very smart, you scoundrel!”
Kraft’s light-hearted book is in good fun. But an ancient king of Moab tried to pay a mysterious prophet not merely to insult the Israelites but to outright curse them. “Come and put a curse on these people,” King Balak told Balaam (Numbers 22:6). Instead, Balaam enraged the king by blessing the Hebrew people—multiple times (24:10). One of his blessings included this prophecy: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near” (24:17). Clearly the individual in view is not yet on the scene, but just who is Balaam talking about? The next line holds a clue. “A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel” (v. 17). The “star” would one day lead wise men to the promised Child (Matthew 2:1–2).
An ancient Mesopotamian prophet who knew nothing of Messiah pointed the world to a future sign declaring His arrival. From an unlikely source came not cursing, but blessing.
By Tim Gustafson
God, please give me eyes to see Your hand at work in all things.